Ex-Hampton police officer convicted of DUI; plans to appeal to Circuit Court

Ex-Hampton police officer convicted of DUI; plans to appeal to Circuit Court
·4 min read

A former Hampton police officer was convicted of DUI last week after being found unresponsive at the wheel of a stopped car earlier this year.

Tre’Quan Nunnally, 24, was sentenced to 30 days in jail, all suspended.

General District Court Judge W. Parker Councill — a retired Suffolk jurist appointed to the case — also suspended Nunnally’s driver’s license for 12 months, gave him a year’s probation and ordered him to take an alcohol-safety program.

Nunnally — who was off-duty and in his own car at the time of the incident — plans to appeal to Hampton Circuit Court, said his attorney, Mario Stellute.

Just after 1 a.m. on March 14, dispatchers got a call about a “man down” in a stopped car near a gas pump at a 7-Eleven at Woodland Road and Andrews Boulevard.

The car was running, with music blaring. The store clerk testified that he and a customer spent about 15 minutes trying to wake up the driver.

Officers tried to rouse Nunnally by shouting and hitting the window, including with flashlights.

At one point, Sgt. Mark Kincaid testified, Nunnally “shifted” in his seat, causing his car to twice begin rolling slowly toward Woodland Road. Kincaid took out a special baton and broke the driver’s side window, unlocking the door and putting the car in park.

“I believe I smelled the very faint smell of what appeared to me as alcohol,” Kincaid testified. He also said he smelled “a distinct odor of marijuana,” but none was found in the car.

Officers said Nunnally woke up slowly, and stepped out sluggishly.

“He continued to use the car as a kind of balance,” Hampton Police Officer Amir Carpenter testified.

Carpenter described Nunnally’s speech as slow and “very slurred” initially, though he said he soon grew more alert. Nunnally passed one sobriety test, reciting part of the alphabet from one letter to another, Carpenter said, but had some starts and stops with a test to count backward.

Nunnally refused various other field sobriety tests, Carpenter said. And a criminal complaint said he refused to submit to a breath test.

Carpenter said he didn’t smell alcohol, and that Nunnally told him he had one or two drinks “a day ago.”

When Stellute, Nunnally’s lawyer, pressed Carpenter on whether Nunnally’s actions could be seen as a man simply waking up from sleep, Carpenter agreed.

“He did not appear to be intoxicated, is that fair?” Stellute asked.

“No, he did not,” Carpenter replied.

A criminal complaint filed in March said another officer found a half-full bottle of Hennessy cognac on the car’s floorboard. But that wasn’t presented as evidence at last week’s trial, though it wasn’t clear why not.

Nunnally was arrested on a DUI charge, a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a year behind bars.

He was then taken to the Hampton Sentara CarePlex, with officers getting a warrant to have Nunnally’s blood drawn and tested. But Nunnally refused to permit that, an officer testified.

A magistrate signed off on the DUI charge at 9:41 a.m. — nearly eight hours into the case. He released Nunnally on a summons rather than the standard practice of arresting people on DUI charges and booking them into the jail.

That decision, local attorneys have said, could have been because he had sobered up by that point.

After the evidence was presented, Stellute asked Councill to dismiss the DUI charge, contending there was no evidence that his client was impaired, adding that the only thing Nunnally did wrong “was to fall asleep at the wheel” and “have trouble waking up.”

Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jefferson James disagreed, noting in part Nunnally’s unsteadiness on his feet.

“It’s just bizarre that someone would be in such a deep sleep” at a gas station pump “that he couldn’t be woken by both the 7-Eleven clerk and two police officers until they had to break the window.”

James also asserted that Nunnally’s refusal to allow the blood draw is “a little indicative of having something to hide.” In Suffolk, he said, people who refuse to submit to search warrants are charged with obstruction of justice. But Nunnally isn’t facing that charge in Hampton.

Stellute reiterated what he asserted was a lack of evidence in the case.

“I’ve actually had something in a trial I’ve never had before — and that is that an officer agreed with me that my client was not intoxicated,” Stellute said.

But Councill sided with the prosecution.

To fall asleep at the gas pump and then not be roused “certainly makes you wonder what on earth was wrong with this person,” the judge said, saying that Nunnally’s actions “don’t leave any other conclusion than that he was impaired.”

Nunnally had been on administrative leave with pay, but is no longer with the Hampton Police Division as of July 23, Police spokesman Sgt. Reggie Williams said.

Peter Dujardin, 757-247-4749, pdujardin@dailypress.com

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